Pakistan v England, 2nd Test, Abu Dhabi

Questions to answer for England

England insist they have suffered one bad result but need to find a response in the second Test to silence the critics who think there's plenty to answer for the world's No. 1 Test team

George Dobell in Dubai

January 24, 2012

Comments: 65 | Text size: A | A

Andrew Strauss, Andy Flower and Kevin Pietersen observe England's net session, Abu Dhabi, January, 24, 2012
England have produced comebacks in the recent past but this could be their biggest challenge yet © AFP

Aberration or new era? False dawn or coronation? Undercooked or in decline? The answer to these questions and many more will be revealed over the next few days as Pakistan and England renew rivalries in Abu Dhabi.

We should resist reading too much into one result. But should Pakistan win again, then it will be fair to start drawing conclusions about their revival. And England's enduring problems in Asia.

A glance at the record books suggests that winning at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium will prove tough. The two previous Tests here have both ended in draws and have produced three double centuries. It is interesting to note that, in both instances, Pakistan's captain, Misbah-ul-Haq, won the toss and inserted the opposition. On the first occasion, South Africa amassed 584 but not before they had been 33 for three, while on the second occasion, Sri Lanka were dismissed for 197. If there is any life to be exploited in the pitch, it might well be in the first few hours.

Much of England's success in recent years has come against sides that have imploded: India, Australia and Pakistan come to mind. All were in transition and all capitulated under pressure. Pakistan are unlikely to do that.

Pakistan play, on the whole, solid, sensible cricket. In the first Test, they were successful through bowling straight, playing straight and displaying discipline and patience in all departments. They applied the pressure and England buckled.

That should not be interpreted as faint praise. Success in cricket, as in all facets of life, is so often reliant more on perspiration than inspiration. Genius is wonderful but hard work often prevails. In the likes of Misbah-ul-Haq, Mohammad Hafeez, Taufeeq Umar, Umar Gul and the underrated Abdur Rehman, Pakistan have mature cricketers who know what it takes to prosper at this level. Besides, in Saeed Ajmal and Younis Khan, Pakistan are blessed with a sprinkling of genius.

Ajmal was especially impressive in Dubai. His use of the crease, his variations in pace and his subtle turn in each direction, presented huge problems for England. How they combat him in Abu Dhabi may well prove crucial.

Talk of Pakistan becoming the best team in the world is premature. They have started well but there is a huge distance to travel before that can be said. They have won series against Bangladesh, Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka to date. Beating England will provide clearer evidence of progress.

It is worth remembering that Ian Bell averaged over 100 in 2011, Kevin Pietersen scored 175 two Tests ago and Eoin Morgan scored a century in the Test before that.

Whatever happens over the next few weeks, the need for Pakistan to recruit another new coach has surely receded. As interim, Mohsin Khan has done everything that has been asked of him and more. While he is not the most hands-on of coaches, he has helped create a calm environment in which the players can shine. Further talk of Dav Whatmore appears superfluous.

But make no mistake, this is Misbah's team. He is the one dictating the tactics, setting the tone and ensuring the happy sense of calm that currently pervades the squad. He assumed the captaincy with Pakistan cricket at a crossroads and has, to date, played the hand that fate dealt him masterfully. Coming from behind to beat his Pakistan team in a three-Test series will be desperately tough.

If any team can do it, England can. It is almost four years since they have lost two Tests in a row - against South Africa in 2008 - and, while only ten teams in history have recovered from one-nil down to win a three-Test series, England did so as recently as 2008. At least six, and possibly seven, of the team that played the last Test in that series in New Zealand will represent England in this game. The last four times that England have lost a Test, they have bounced back with a win in their next. But none of those results were against one of the major teams on Asian pitches.

England have one injury concern. Chris Tremlett has reported stiffness in his back and side, and took no part in training on Tuesday. He is most unlikely to play. As a consequence Steven Finn, a proven wicket-taker but liable to leak runs, and Graeme Onions, a wicket-to-wicket bowler who could be considered an ideal horse for this course, will be considered. The spin of Monty Panesar is another option but there is little precedent for England fielding two spinners in a four-man attack. Indeed, the last time they did so was in December 2003, when they drew with Sri Lanka in Kandy.

And there's the rub. England have a tough balancing act to perform. Excluding Bangladesh, they have won just one Test in Asia since March 2001. In that game, against India in Mumbai in 2006, they fielded two spinners.

That might suggest the inclusion of Panesar. But the problem for England is that in that game, they also played three fast bowlers. The presence of Andrew Flintoff as an allrounder allowed them that luxury but, in the absence of Tim Bresnan who might have batted at seven and displaced Eoin Morgan, it is hard to see a way that two spinners can be accommodated. Perhaps, one day, Ben Stokes or Chris Woakes will solve that problem. For now, the loss of Bresnan is enormous. It is highly unlikely that England, after the batting failure of Dubai, will respond by dropping a batsman to fit in another bowler. But it might well be their best method of winning.

That issue is compounded by the concerns about their top-order batting. The openers, with nine of their last 11 partnerships failing to pass 25, are one issue. The lack of form shown by Kevin Pietersen, Morgan and Ian Bell is another. But it is worth remembering that Bell averaged over 100 in 2011, Pietersen scored 175 two Tests ago and Eoin Morgan scored a century in the Test before that. They have had, at present, one bad game. Nothing more.

It is Andrew Strauss' form that is of greatest concern. With just one century in 26 Tests and an average of 23 from the start of the Sri Lanka series, his form cannot be dismissed quite so readily. At the pre-match media conference, Strauss admitted his lack of runs in Dubai was "disappointing" before conceding he was "conscious that it's important as a captain to lead from the front with regards to scoring runs". England will provide every opportunity for Strauss to rediscover his form and there is no immediate danger of a change of personnel. But it could become an issue.

One bad result, as England keep telling us, does not make them a poor side. But two bad results? That is a different matter.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by satish619chandar on (January 25, 2012, 5:10 GMT)

Just a prediction.. Draw at the best for England provided Pakistan lose their batting form and collapse.. On this pitch, England cant say "We played spin better than last test" as the track wont offer any.. Lets watch.. This match provides more interest than the dead one going there down under..

Posted by Meety on (January 25, 2012, 5:06 GMT)

So far, the only "trend" that can be gathered from England in the Middle East is that (inc tour games), the batting does not look as imposing as it has in recent times. Sometimes this can be the fact that it is rare to have 4 or 5 batsmen in peak form at the same time, it could be a blip, or it could be a pre-curser to what is in store for England in the Middle East/Asia. My feeling is that it is a little of all of the above. They've had freak performances from cricketers (Bell in particular), so I would say some batsmen are due a lean patch, the 1st test was a bit of a statistical outlier, & finally, England are not as adept at playing in Asia. The last point is in theory the easiest to remedy, but when up against a team like Pakistan that when they blow hot they sizzle, it will be tough to turn around. I think Pakistan have at least ONE collapse in them in this series, but I suspect England do too! Leaning towards a draw here, & England going down fighting in the 3rd, Pakis 2 nil!!!

Posted by VJGS on (January 25, 2012, 5:01 GMT)

The Curse of the #1 Ranked Side. India couldn't and can't win outside the sub-continental conditions(India, SL, Bangladesh and Pak). England can't win outside England, SA, Australia. The only side to deservedly hold the rank was Australia. And at the current rate, they'll be back to reclaim the #1 in all 3 formats.

Posted by Sports4Youth on (January 25, 2012, 4:51 GMT)

England will not play two spinners, it is just not their way of playing cricket. They have their own formula. Though the conditions and pitch conditions also need to be respected. Interesting to see what strauss does.

Posted by Rahul_78 on (January 25, 2012, 4:27 GMT)

I guess there is general ignorance regarding the skills and ability of Pakistan bowling attack among the foreign media and fans a like. How many daemons does the Dubai pitch possess to restrict the batting line up consisting of Cook, KP and Trott to less then 200 on the first day pitch. The wicket was batting beauty added by the beautiful weather with tempratures howering around 18 degrees. Those were perfect batting conditions but this pakistan attack is freakish. Pak bowlers have taken pitch out of contention with clever usage of variations in spin, speed, length and angle with some mind games thrown in backed by a clam and very clever captain in the field. England had no business loosing to this pakisan side whoes only proven test batsmen is Younis khan under 3 days. The problem for England in not in the pitch or conditions or their team is just that they have been pitted against a world class bowling attack and they need to do all the running to counter them.i

Posted by cricket_fan_1980 on (January 25, 2012, 3:17 GMT)

With only a few hours left for kickoff, I am very excited. Will England take the risk and play Monty? I think it will help them. He is a quality bowler. Pakistan also have some worries, despite playing well in the first game. Asad Shafiq needs more time at the crease, but I personally feel Umar Akmal should be groomed at number 6, with a potential move up to 4 or 5 in a few years. He is technically a very solid batsman and we could use that potential momentum late in the order. Also, Cheema is very good but left arm fast is what we need up front. It will hassle the English top order. I also feel that Azher Ali needs to mature more, he is a good batsman but he needs more practice. An exciting game I hope is on the cards!

Posted by AbdullahShaikh on (January 25, 2012, 3:04 GMT)

in the past 2 years England has been feeding on the misfortune or transition phases of other sides. The other factor responsible for their success was that they have been continuesly playing in their HOME CONDITIONS, while the opposition has been comming and going one after the other.Now they start travelling.. specially the subcontinent tours are going to be tough for England.

Posted by asaduzzaman-khan on (January 25, 2012, 1:50 GMT)

No more discussion about No. 1.... In recent history of cricket, West Indies was no. 1 during 70s & 80s, and Australia was no. 1 from 1999 to 2007..... No other team should not dare to claim that they are no. 1. This series, Pakistan is winning by 2-0 margin against this funny 'No. 1' team

Posted by yorkshirematt on (January 25, 2012, 0:17 GMT)

IF England win they will have layed the ghosts of the first test to rest and can look forward again. However, if they lose again, the questions over their performances in Asia will be well and truly justified.

Posted by cricketlover1220 on (January 24, 2012, 23:48 GMT)

ALL ENGLAND NEED TO DO IS TO SEE THE TRACK RECORDS OF MURALI,SAQLAIN,BHAJI(HARBAJAN),KUMBLE AND THEY WILL FIND THE ANSWER 'why 2 spinners ON ASIAN WICKETS' a bowler can always contribute scoring some valuable runs as well, bt never heard that a pure batsman contributed in taking wickets....monty panesar,swan,stuart broad and james anderson should play while jonathan trot and kevin peterson can always give a break to regular per pakistan is concerned umar amin should score some runs as technically for me he is not ideal at 3....if they play monty panesar he can make ball talk by bowling in bowlers follow through foot marks and can get extra bounce....

Posted by xylo on (January 24, 2012, 23:29 GMT)

The ranking drama could be simply put as this - post-Australia's golden run, there simply hasn't been an actual No. 1, only one for the rankings.

Posted by Neutral123 on (January 24, 2012, 23:18 GMT)

In order for England to prove that they are no. 1 they need to win the second test and take the momentum into the decider. And that could only be achieved by playing 5 bowlers (2 spinners).

Posted by   on (January 24, 2012, 22:53 GMT)

Don't you think, this sentence is wrong? "Graeme Onions, a wicket-to-wicket bowler who could be considered an ideal horse for this course, will be considered."

Posted by cricketlover1220 on (January 24, 2012, 22:26 GMT)

amazing comments by everyone....for me defination of No 1 team is 'a team who plays well abroad as well as home' lately we have seen dominating and crushing teams at home but when they take same team abroad results were different.ENGLAND no doubt played some quality cricket home and abroad but their track record in ASIA was not that far as pakistan's recent performance is concerned no doubt they are playing good but its a long way to go for them as misbah is doing wonders with this team but their real test will be against aussies,indians and south africans in their prediction for second test is england will play with 2 spinners and will bounce back as ENGLAND is mentally a strong team comments on BOB WILLIS STATEMENT....thats ICC JOB to see who's arm is bending more....may the good team win

Posted by TamilIndian on (January 24, 2012, 22:23 GMT)

Really good to see pak playing as a solid unit without the past distractions. Keep it up folks!

Posted by pie314 on (January 24, 2012, 22:16 GMT)

@landl47 - Yep a bowler with an average of 34 these days is world class and performances in practice matches obviously translates to real test performance... but jokes aside, panesar is not proven on the world stage while tremlett is. It was a batting failure rather than the bowling failure so change the batters instead. I don't see why the bowling is getting blamed. It would be INSANE to keep the same batting lineup after the shocking performance in the first test. Drop Pieterson just to teach him a lesson in playing stupidly.

Posted by Shan156 on (January 24, 2012, 21:58 GMT)


"England are very overrated team" - and, India are not? C'mon, most England fans expected England to struggle in the sub-continent despite being ranked #1. We were, of course, expected to perform better than what was on display in the first test. But, full credit to Pakistan. England can still recover and get a decent result from this. The most over-rated team is India who were expected to hand a thrashing to the inexperienced Aussie side but ended up getting thrashed and are on their way to another 0-4 result.

Posted by Shan156 on (January 24, 2012, 21:23 GMT)

@landl47, Agreed 100%. I cannot understand England's refusal to change their game plan accordingly either. Yes, they won with this formula in Australia and England but conditions are different now. Swann and Monty will be a handful if England play them both. Pakistan played two pacemen and two spinners in Dubai and are likely to stick to that formula in Abu Dhabi. Why England won't do that is a question that can only be answered by the two Andrews in charge. However, these two guys have got the results in the past and let's hope they know what they are doing.

I agree that a draw now will only be treated as a loss because if they draw the second test the best result they can get from the series is a draw (and that won't be easy, mind you). England should play for the win and that means picking 5 bowlers. However, our batting failed miserably in the first test. Abu Dhabi has produced two high scoring draws so perhaps we can take a risk there by playing 5 bowlers.

Posted by applethief on (January 24, 2012, 21:18 GMT)

Shouldn't just say what the evidence so far points to? That England have been good, but are nowhere near as good as they would like us to believe. This is the football mentality seeping into the cricket - the English whip themselves into a frenzy and convince themselves they are gods of the footballing world, and the rest of the world has a hard time taking them seriously. In the much smaller world of Test cricket, it's harder to ignore a side like the world does with English football, but it seems obvious that there's hardly a consensus on whether this English team is anything close to "great", they've just made the most of the situation they've found themselves in. Bravo for that, but there's a long, long way to go before they do something meaningful with their cricket. Wish them the best of luck with that (though not against Pakistan!)

Posted by   on (January 24, 2012, 21:01 GMT)

Every expectation will get down in this test match thoes are expecting england will win or it will draw,pak will thresh every team who will come in their circle now,dont forget two bowlers thoes are sitting on the Becnh Junaid and Wahab are enugh to blighted england batting line up,pak sufferd alot due to so many Controversies since two years either it waz PCB fault or players guilty,but now every thing get vanished now every single player is keep eyeing on just cricket and this is the strength of this team....

Posted by explorer76 on (January 24, 2012, 21:00 GMT)

There are things to worry about for Pakistan as well. Our bowling worked well in first test - they were disciplined and bowled good lines, eventually forcing batsmen into error. But bowling didn't look very attacking or threatening. Specially the fast bowlers. Gul took wickets in the second innigs, but looking at him bowl he didn't seem to create too many troubles for the batsmen. Cheema did create some trouble early on but didn't persist. If England batsmen conquer their daemons and get a good partnership going, it is not clear if bowlers will be up to the task to breakthrough.

And batting while mostly solid, becomes a bit too defensive at times. The focus seems too much on playing lots of overs. Sure in a test match you dont want to bat like an ODI, but at the same time you want time in the middle to convert into runs on the board as well. A strong team like England will keep coming back to attack you, so you don't want to let them dominate you by being too defensive.

Posted by WeeBee on (January 24, 2012, 20:43 GMT)

A tremendous pressure is ON for English team! They have got to prove themselves that they are NO 1. Pakistan is going slowly towards no1 position and damn they will get it in this year.! Lets see who wins the race this time ! .. its a batting track where taufeeq umar made double century last time they played here. Pakistan should be very careful about English batting this time ! And Ajmal should be more aggressive to keep pressure on English batsman. At the End who plays well WINS! .. but i pray for Pakistan.

Posted by   on (January 24, 2012, 20:39 GMT)

hello pakistani team common win the secand test and tell england pakistani team is number one team in the world

Posted by   on (January 24, 2012, 20:37 GMT)

nyce sumup! 1 test bad and it doesnt matter! similarly one gr8 perfomance and it doesnt matter! consistency is the key,something straus has in poor bating form and #teammisbah in perspirating!! lets hope for a gud game of cricket and all lucks to the Pakistanis c=

Posted by   on (January 24, 2012, 20:29 GMT)

I think Misbah-ul-Haq will play defensive cricket which he dose against Sri Lanka...Pakistan is one up in the series and the will try to play for draw next two... Keep it up Pakistan be positive best of luck

Posted by IndianCrazyFan on (January 24, 2012, 20:28 GMT)

It will be tough for England to show decent performance. I expect more or less another 1st crumble. May be expect a 100 from someone at top but they hit the ground as 1st test.

England are very overrated team when they travel Asian countries. It will be a tough series and they go to SL next which will add more and more exhausting picthes to tackle though no Murali.

Very very long way to match 80's Windies and Ponting XI (with Mcgrath & Warne)

Posted by landl47 on (January 24, 2012, 20:25 GMT)

A draw would be almost as bad as a defeat for England. They have to start winning matches on subcontinental pitches to be taken seriously as the best team in the world. I'm still at a loss to understand the thinking that England can't play two spinners, when first, that's what the subcontinental teams do and it works, second, England have two world-class spinners (Monty isn't Nathan Lyon) and third, England just tried playing three pacemen and it didn't work. Tremlett didn't get a wicket, didn't make any runs and isn't the greatest fielder in the world. Swann got 4 wickets and would have benefitted enormously from having another spinner to work with. Monty got 8 wickets and bowled England to victory in the only warm-up game he played. England have really got to start thinking differently- so far what they have tried hasn't worked. Insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different result.

Posted by golgo_85 on (January 24, 2012, 20:21 GMT)

Pakistan also did beat New Zealand in New Zealand last year.

Posted by aa61761 on (January 24, 2012, 20:10 GMT)

Georgy Boy! get ready for the whooping. Pakistan will kick England's # 1 Behind once again.

Posted by Tiger-Khan on (January 24, 2012, 19:57 GMT)

@ Bob Willis: typical english press...blame random things for england's it cricket or football they always revert to their age old tactic of blaming other things rather reflecting on their lack of ability i.e. in this case playing spin or generally playing well in the sub-continent...same as when they crashed out to Germany in the football WC they blamed such things as fatigue and what not...get a life you gutter english journalism...although I would add that there are some decent folks too among them who try to keep things in balance...

Posted by Waqar.Khan on (January 24, 2012, 19:49 GMT)

@"It is almost four years since they have lost two Tests in a row - against South Africa in 2008": Don't forget that Australia in World cup had a winning streak of around 30 matches in a row that spans over 11 years and it was Pakistan who beaten them in World Cup Quarter-final 2011...... you are not ready to call them the best team but if we beat England in this series.... to be fair you cannot call England the best team either....... but I am bold to say that Pakistan has records of changing the history dramatically and I am looking forward for the same in tomorrow's match.....

Posted by Shan156 on (January 24, 2012, 19:46 GMT)

Pakistan played the better cricket in the first test and deserved to win the match. But, as George says, talks of Pakistan being the best team in the world is premature. England did well in Australia and at home but struggled in the first test in Asia. Pakistan need to prove themselves away before they could lay claim to being the best side in the world. Besides, this series is still not over. England could well come back. May the better team win.

Posted by TaylorSwift on (January 24, 2012, 19:43 GMT)

A draw is the most likely result in Abu Dhabi. SL were able to pull-off a draw after folding for 197 in the first innings. Taking 20 wickets and winning the test will require patience, discipline and grit in the field. Ajmal will be the key again. If the English batsmen fail to play him well, Pakistan can win again.

Posted by Elliott_Tree on (January 24, 2012, 19:20 GMT)

Nice article, nice comments. Good luck Pak, though from my personal POV I hope Syed Gohar Ali Shah is right - and maybe a stong 1st innings with the bat can kick-start Eng to pull off an unexpected victory. Would be great to have a tense decider back in Dubai.

Posted by Sajjad_Awan on (January 24, 2012, 19:19 GMT)

One point every one including writer missing. England are scoring runs at a very slow rate, they were not getting runs against any those bowlers who were not posing any threats and eventually getting out by main bowlers with only few runs on the board. If England need to change the result they need to come up and score little freely.

Posted by donda on (January 24, 2012, 19:09 GMT)

I think Pakistan is on the high because of the way they did beat england in last match. Under misbah i am sure that pakistan will go for draw first and then win. Losing for pakistan is last option , they just need to bat long and very long so that england bowlers go home empty handed.

Time to draw both test matches and win the series for pakistan, no hurry to win all three , just draw is required.

Posted by cricket_fan_1980 on (January 24, 2012, 19:09 GMT)

I think it is fair to add New Zealand to the three series wins Pakistan has had last year. NZ is a decent side. Also, Pakistan drew with South Africa, so did not lose a single series out of five played. I think that is quite commendable, and the analysis, although accurate, is not fully representative :)

Posted by KarachiKid on (January 24, 2012, 18:57 GMT)

I think people are giving too much importance to just one game. Pakistan played better cricket but no one noticed that Pakistan hardly dropped a catch, if only Kamran Akmal was there, we would surely have lost. Besides Kamran, dropping three of four catches in a match is business as usual for Pakistan. Like in last game played in Abu Dhabi, Pakistan let Sri Lanka off hook by dropping 7 or 8 catches. England are still number one team and we should make our predictions accordingly !!! Having said that I pray for Pakistan's success.

Posted by ReverseSwing20 on (January 24, 2012, 18:27 GMT)

Honestly guys! Some of you are angels of doom, even when Pakistan is doing well, your hopelessness is hapless. If ever a team can enliven a dead pitch, it's only Pakistan - the Brazil of Cricketing world. And they were saying Dubai was a belter and Pakistan gave us a capitulation in 3 days, so cheer up guys, back our team and you never know this might be the time of another hero, maybe another Khan, Younas or Junaid.

Posted by   on (January 24, 2012, 18:27 GMT)

Pakistan should have to work hard in 2nd testm specially on middle order players although they win first test but batting line stll not upto standard new players not performing so well Abu Dhabi wicket is flat and batsmen paradise, the captain who win the toss will bet first. hope we expacted a good match.

Posted by   on (January 24, 2012, 18:24 GMT)

George u are looking at their record in 2011 but in. 2010 they had beaten australia and England in at least one test they might not be great to be no 1 but give credit where due

Posted by   on (January 24, 2012, 18:22 GMT)

Well written George - plain simple facts worded properly. While the winning team usually does not make changes, Pakistan is expected to bring in Junaid in place of Cheem and Umer in place of Asad. This speaks volumes about the tactical mind of Misbah. Both changes, if made, show the aggressive strategies that Misbah should make to put England under pressure though people often incorrectly label him as conservative - he is simply prudent/calculated. Besides Misbah, Pakistan's rise is indebted to the top three batsmen. Until 2010, we had a lousy top order and a solid middle order but that also came under pressure as we always lost quick top order wicket. Now Hafeez has matured, Taufeeq is more confident and Azhar Ali is solid and they are the ones who are not only scoring some runs and seeing the new ball off but are also inspiring confidence in the team. Pakistan's bowling has always been good but since the top has started performing the team is doing well. Remain united!!!

Posted by   on (January 24, 2012, 18:21 GMT)

Well written article totally agree with the content . Second test will decide Eng fate in Asia and resurgency of Pak . Its one of the most important test whoever played well held their nerves played according to merits showed patience maturity and attack in disguise of defence will be the winner .As a pakistani i would love to have my team the winner but my mind says wait and watch because you can t write off World no.1 and truly deserving team Eng that much easy .I still insist that even if Eng lose the series they will be real threat to SL and Ind in subcontinent because our neighbours lack 20 wickets taking ability and for winning tests you need to rely on bowlers not batsmen.

Posted by izazkhan on (January 24, 2012, 18:13 GMT)

This is asia , different conditions and different wickets...I just hope it's an even series otherwise I can sense 2-0 :)

Posted by saadfarrukh1 on (January 24, 2012, 18:13 GMT)

Very nice article at least not one sided.pakistan will win the match tomorrow or it is going to be a high scoring draw

Posted by veeru1087 on (January 24, 2012, 17:59 GMT)

Don't even think of dropping Morgan..he is such a talent against spin bowling. If u want two spinners in, let it be 2 spin and 2 pace...

Posted by hhillbumper on (January 24, 2012, 17:59 GMT)

Time for England to stand up and be counted.If they truely are world number 1 then they need to win all over the world.Either they are no better than India.Who would want to only be good atr him.Though unlike India you don't hear English fans trying to ban pitches which don't suit them

Posted by khurramsch on (January 24, 2012, 17:54 GMT)

i dnt agre with ths pitch talk. people say samd for dubai but ended in3days. same in ths. dont forget sa were 33for 3 and both kalas &abd got benifit of no drs 2times in that big partner shp othrwise it would haveben a result. same thng v knw tht 6 drop catches by pakistan reducd time at the end. so its not pitch its how u play.

Posted by   on (January 24, 2012, 17:48 GMT)

england has strong batting line upto no.9 swan.

Posted by   on (January 24, 2012, 17:44 GMT)

Pakistan batting is always shaky , if england is goin to make big score pakistan will be in pressure again. even in previous match no ody scored century.

Posted by   on (January 24, 2012, 17:42 GMT)

A very well written and sensible article. I do think draw is very likely, but Pakistan could walk away with a win if the English batting does not improve.

Posted by   on (January 24, 2012, 17:32 GMT)

Can pak beat no 1 again or show their character?

Posted by cricket_fan_1980 on (January 24, 2012, 17:27 GMT)

Also, Misbah's batting average as Test Captain has been phenomenal. I think close to 80. And, yes its a slightly flatter track than Dubai, but Pakistan did bowl Sri Lanka out here for less than 200. And, SL are famous flat track dominators. So, skill and strategy always, over tracks. I want to see some spine from the famed 6 of the English line up in this game! They should not allow themselves to get so utterly dominated as they did in the last game. I suspect they will have some plans in place to come back strong. Broad was looking threatening, almost like some of the quality Pakistani bowlers of yesteryears, who never cared about how flat a track was because they bowled so fast and full, to such immense success.

Posted by   on (January 24, 2012, 17:22 GMT)

The thing about Pakistan is that they can surprise, so you never know what they might 'pull off' in next matches.

Posted by Timoid on (January 24, 2012, 17:16 GMT)

England will do what England will always do and cart out the same team. Expect Cook to score a truckful of runs and Trott to add to the twin centuries scored at the ground as the track gives absolutely no help to the bowlers. England will declare on about 600.

Pakistan will score less, but do enough to ensure the draw.

A draw methinks.

Posted by   on (January 24, 2012, 17:15 GMT)

good luck PAKISTAN =) ur gonna win I.A

Posted by jonnybtestmatch on (January 24, 2012, 17:14 GMT)

Can simply not explain the performance in Dubai. Pakistan are a decent side, particulalry in the bowling unit and they have the ability to roll through any side on their given day. I hope that England can play more aggressivley or they will be sitting ducks for the spinners. The only worry for PAK, is the threat of a collapse, although they seemed solid enough in Dubai. I would bat KP at 5, where I think he is best, and move Bell up to 4, despite his poor game. As for two spinners, I really can't see that helping as both PAK and IND play spin as well as anyone regardless of conditions. I would rather have 4 seamers and a spinner.

Posted by Zahidsaltin on (January 24, 2012, 17:06 GMT)

Every one will score big in Abu Dahbi and the match will be a drw. It will be the best result for England as then the batsmen will hit form and will be ready for the third match.

Posted by ujan.s on (January 24, 2012, 16:58 GMT)

whoever wins...i just hope that a result comes out!

Posted by imkhantoo on (January 24, 2012, 16:58 GMT)

lets hope the 2nd test dosent end in first three days, looking forward to a nail biting cracker. look out for junaid khan :D

Posted by   on (January 24, 2012, 16:49 GMT)

Very good notes. But I would put all my money on Pakistan. This is not the Pakistan that the world met in 2010. All I would say, "Sensible Captaincy, Sensible Cricket" ! Good Luck to both the teams!

Posted by zain.ul.abideen on (January 24, 2012, 16:46 GMT)

a very objective and well written analysis of the current situation of England Team. I also agree with the realistic assessment of Pakistan team's performance.

Posted by   on (January 24, 2012, 16:40 GMT)

Good analysis. Though Pakistan also beat New Zealand in 2011 :)

Posted by cricket_fan_1980 on (January 24, 2012, 16:39 GMT)

Mr Dobell, I salute you. I think you have put together a cracker of an article. Highlighted all the subtleties of this contest, or at least many of them, and done so in style. Any pre-match evaluation article should be able to assess the merits and weaknesses of both sides, fairly. I think that Mr Hopps really needs to take a lot out of your book. Anyhow, I agree with the concluding remarks that summarize a lot of the analysis: Pakistan has had a good first game and been very impressive, but it is only one game and too early to judge England's credibility as No. 1 or Pakistan's quick ascent to greatness this year. However, if Pakistan are to win this second game comprehensively, then certainly 100-fold more praise will be due to them, and the same factor may have to be applied for criticism to England.

Posted by   on (January 24, 2012, 16:38 GMT)

Pakistan will pose another fabulous display of calmness, professionalism and pure gentleman cricket,,, i hope like heir commentators and bloggers England team will als be frustrated over Misbah's calm and Ajmal's geniius..Go Green

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Tour Results
England v Pakistan at Abu Dhabi - Feb 27, 2012
England won by 5 runs
England v Pakistan at Dubai (DSC) - Feb 25, 2012
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England v Pakistan at Dubai (DSC) - Feb 23, 2012
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England won by 4 wickets (with 4 balls remaining)
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